By Adam Brown
This weekend youth baseball will return to the Oxford area as mTrade Park hosts The USSSA North MS Global State Championship tournament.
The tournament can now take place after the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Sunday (May 31) to adopt the newest executive orders into Phase II which gets underway June 1, at 8 a.m. The plan for outdoor gatherings can now include up to 50 people. The number of people watching a game at mTrade park can have no more than 100 people gathered per field to watch a game, and each quad can have no more than 400 people.
This weekend, 119 teams will take to the diamond in hopes of claiming a championship on Sunday. The age groups that will be represented are 7-14.
MTrade Park’s Director Brad Freeman told HottyToddy.com that this will be the first tournament for the park since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the middle of March.
“We had two tournaments in February and March prior to having to shut down,” Freeman said.
“It is such a critical part of our youth activities and tourism in our community,” Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said at the meeting.
Tannehill read Governor Tate Reeves’ newest orders in the meeting, saying that everyone has to follow team organized practices, and organizers or coaches have to provide a copy of this executive order to all players and their parents.
Each player shall be screened by the coach prior to entering the field by asking the questions: have you experienced a cough, shortness of breath, or been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19? Players and parents and guardians should report any symptoms to the coach, and, if a player experiences any symptoms during practice, should be sent home immediately. Coaches and park personnel should make sure teams are practicing social distancing during practice as much as possible. Players and coaches should sanitize hands before practice and players’ bags and equipment should be lined up on the fence at least six feet apart. Parents must remain in their cars during practice.
“We added that teams will have to provide their own hand sanitizer,” she said.
The executive order states that dugouts may be used during games with social distancing. The order does not allow the concession stands to be open at this time. Players and fans will be allowed to bring coolers of water and snacks into the gates during tournaments for personal use. After the game, players are prohibited from handshakes and high-fives. When the game ends, teams must sanitize the dugout area. No post-game talks in the field.
Fan attendance is limited to two family members per household. Fans cannot use bleachers and must bring their own chairs. They are encouraged to wear a face mask while watching games. Fans for upcoming games must remain in their cars until everyone from the previous game has left.
All tournament fields will have a safety officer to make sure that social distancing is being enforced.
“For us at mTrade park, the biggest aspect of that order will be the social distancing,” Freeman said. “These teams have been playing a couple of events now up in Tennessee, which has been legal for two weeks now.
During the tournament, both entrances will be open – one for teams and the other for fans.
“That way everyone is not bottled into one entrance,” he said.